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22 DAYS TO 2021 KICKOFF: Deuce Vaughn

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In which BracketCat counts down the 22nd day until the 2021 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn.

#22 Deuce Vaughn
Many of us had high expectations for Deuce Vaughn (22) entering the 2020 season, but how many of us expected simply the greatest and most impactful freshman season for any K-State running back ever? Yes, even more than that Sproles guy...
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

NOTE: Kansas State has elected to advance players’ classification even though the 2020 season did not affect eligibility. Those who wish to take advantage of this extra year will be listed as a (“super”) senior again after their original eligibility would have been exhausted.

#22 Deuce Vaughn

True Sophomore | 5-6 | 173 lbs. | Round Rock, Texas
Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Running Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Christopher Matthew “Deuce” Vaughn II (b. Nov. 2, 2001) is a speedy young running back from Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, Texas, who signed in the Class of 2020.

Please ignore the fact that at this time last year, I predicted he would redshirt. Instead, he is one of the top true freshmen in the nation who made a splash in the first year of his career.

Last season, Vaughn rushed for 642 yards and seven touchdowns on 123 carries, caught 25 passes for 434 yards and two touchdowns, and returned seven kickoffs for 145 yards.

He led the Wildcats in rushing yards, receiving yards and all-purpose yards (1,221) as he was named the True Freshman of the Year by 247Sports, a Freshman All-American by The Athletic and the Football Writers Association of America, and an honorable mention All-American by Phil Steele and Pro Football Focus.

Vaughn also was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches, while he was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

He was the first Wildcat true freshman in the Big 12 era (since 1996) to earn first- or second-team All-Big 12 honors on offense, and he also was a semifinalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award as the top collegiate football player with Texas ties.

Vaughn “only” set K-State freshman records for rushing yards, yards from scrimmage (1,076) and all-purpose yards, while he finished second in rushing touchdowns and third in receiving yards. He is the only running back in the top five in the latter category.

After just one season, Vaughn also is ranked fourth in school history in receiving yards among all running backs, regardless of class. He is ranked fourth in school history in points scored by a freshman and is the only non-kicker on that list.

Vaughn was one of only three players in the nation to tally at least 600 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards on the year, joining fellow running backs Travis Etienne (Clemson) and Najee Harris (Alabama).

He was the only player in the Big 12 to lead his team in both rushing yards and receiving yards, and he ranked first in the nation among all true freshmen in scrimmage yards (1,076), leading the player in second place by 158 yards.

Vaughn ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in all-purpose yards (122.1 yards per game), fourth in rushing (64.2 yards for game), tied for fourth in touchdown scoring (5.4) and 10th in overall scoring; he was the only freshman to rank in the top 10 in the latter category.

He had 194 scrimmage yards (113 rushing and 81 receiving) against Texas Tech, the most by a Wildcat true freshman in the Big 12 era. That came on the heels of 174 scrimmage yards (45 rushing and 129 receiving) in K-State’s win at No. 3 Oklahoma.

Vaughn rightfully earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors following his heroic performances against the Sooners and Red Raiders.

His 129 receiving yards against Oklahoma were the most by a K-State running back since 1970 and was just the sixth 100-yard receiving game by a running back in school history.

It also was the fifth most receiving yards ever by a Big 12 running back and the most by a freshman.

Vaughn had a 77-yard reception at Oklahoma, teaming with fellow true freshman (and now former Wildcat and current Miami of Ohio player) Keyon Mozee to be the first set of teammates in school history with catches of at least 77 yards in the same game.

He then scored on a 70-yard reception against Texas Tech, the first Wildcat with a catch of at least 70 yards in consecutive regular-season games since Tyler Lockett in 2013 (Oklahoma and TCU).

Vaughn also tallied 125 rushing yards against Texas, tied for the fifth most in school history among freshmen. In all, he totaled 221 all-purpose yards against the Longhorns, the most by a Wildcat true freshman since Tyler Lockett at Oklahoma State in 2011 (315).

Vaughn enters 2021 as a preseason candidate for multiple awards as he has been named to the 2021 Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch lists, while Phil Steele named him to his 2021 Preseason All-American team (all-purpose).

He prepped under head coach Sam Robinson at Cedar Ridge High School, where he was regarded as the 17th-best all-purpose back in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports and also named the 2018 and 2019 District 13-6A Offensive Most Valuable Player.

Vaughn, who is majoring in business administration, earned honorable mention all-state honors from the Texas Sports Writers Association as a high school junior and accumulated 5,472 career all-purpose yards for the Raiders with 50 touchdowns, rushing for 4,405 yards and 38 scores to go with 914 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

He also returned four kicks for 153 yards and a touchdown, set school records for single-season rushing yardage (1,940) and single-game rushing yards (406), lettered three years in track and field, and was an honorable mention Academic All-State performer.

Vaughn chose K-State over offers from Air Force, Arkansas, Army, Missouri, North Texas and South Florida, as well as interest from Baylor, Kansas, Minnesota, SMU, TCU and Virginia Tech. His chief recruiter was his position coach, running backs coach Brian Anderson.

His father, Chris, is an NFL scout for the Dallas Cowboys, while he spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach at Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis and Texas after playing at Murray State.

Head coach Chris Klieman was very high on Vaughn’s potential as a big-play running back:

“Deuce is an electric guy; he’s a home-run hitter. He’s got great quicks, but he’s got a second gear to take it the distance. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, as well. He has really good hands, so he will allow us to do a lot of things. Whether we have him in the backfield, which we plan on, putting him flexed out like we have done with Phillip (Brooks), or the return game. You can’t have enough explosive players, and he brings that to the table.”